“Why do you want to go to Egypt?” my friends and family kept questioning me. “Women, especially young white women with blonde hair like you, will be in danger over there,” they kept telling me.

What I think of when I picture Egypt is those famous pyramids and sailing down the Nile, but most people don’t share the same vision – they see war and corruption. When I heard the same thing for the fifth time, I started to believe them. That overwhelming feeling started creeping up on me – that feeling that questioned whether I’m doing the right thing.

Landing in Cairo, anxious and all of my senses heightened, I grab my visa and hop into a taxi. The driver tries his best at talking in English and after a bit of back and forth, he finds out I’m an Australian. He tells me there’s the amount of people living in a 70K radius, the streets we’re driving through, as there is in Australia. I can’t revel in amazement too long as I’m brought back to reality quick with two near misses in two minutes. After about 30 minutes of driving and about the same close collisions, my racing heart starts to settle. I’m in Egypt and I’m going to be just fine.

Only after visiting, did I learn it was both. And only after seeing it with your own eyes can you make your judgement – anything less of that is just assumptions. If someone asks me anything about Egypt, I will tell them all about my first-hand experiences, the good and the bad – the truth.

One thing I’ve learnt in my travels, is that feeling is normally a good indication that I’m about to throw myself in a country that will change my life – and Egypt was no different. Sitting on a rooftop with a group of travellers and locals watching 200,000 or some Egyptians passionately fight for their rights and their country, only 4 storeys below – now, you can’t say that’s something you see in your travels in the western world.

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